Nightscapes & Deep Sky Colors

Astrophotography Brian A. Morganti

M106 Spiral Galaxy

Canes Venatici

Mouse over the above image for galaxy catalog identification


Image below is a 50% crop resolution view of M106

M106 is a Seyfert galaxy about 25 million light years from Earth, and  is receding at 537 km/sec. Most likely, x-ray emissions emanating from M106 are telling us that part of this galaxy is collapsing into a black hole. This possible super massive black hole is believed to be as large as 36 million solar masses! M106 is one of the largest and brightest nearby galaxies, similar in size and luminosity to the Andromeda Galaxy---but visually much smaller in a telescope's eyepiece. 

North would be to the right in this image. 


  • Date & Location:  April 24/25th & 25/26th, 2014 - StarEffects Observatory - Bernville, PA

  • Weather:  Light Breeze on 25th , Calm on 26th, Temperature average in mid-30's F both mornings.

  • Sky Conditions:  Clear with  above average transparency on first morning, cirrus clouds average transparency 2nd morning.

  • SQM-L:  20.36 start - 20.49 finish on 1st morning, 20:34 start - 20:34 finish on 2nd morning. 

  • Optics:  TeleVue NP101is Refractor @ 810mm f8.1 with 1.5x extender.

  • Filter:  Hutech IDAS-LPS (Light Pollution Suppression)

  • Mount:  AstroPhysics AP900GTO

  • Guiding:  Orion SSAG @5 seconds exposures.

  • Camera:  Canon T1i (500d) Hap Griffin modified - Baader UV/IR

  • Exposure:  21 - 10 minute subs  @ ISO800 -  (210 minutes) 3 hours 30 minutes total exposure time.

  • Calibration Frames:  16 Darks & Bias, No Field Flats -- Custom White Balance

  • Processing:  Images Plus 5.75a, PS CS6, GradientXTerminator, NIK filter tools 

  • Comments:  Camera shift negated the use of field flats, but small image frame @810mm minimized any negative effects.  Another small target for a 4" refractor, but the large image scale in the first picture above reveals numerous, but much more distant galaxies.  Most prominent is NGC 4217 with the dust lane running through the center of the galaxy, unfortunately cut in half at the bottom of the image frame in the top photo.   


Astrophotography  -  Nightscapes & Deep Sky Colors